Christian Science: A Religion of Demonstrable Prayer

 

Helen Appleton, C.S., of Boston, Massachusetts

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

 

"The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love." These comforting, assuring, healing, words are the opening sentence from the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key" to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 1). A spiritual understanding of God heals! The teachings of Christian Science reveal that a true understanding of God is a present possibility: "To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings" (Science and Health, Pref., p. vii).

How inclined we are to believe that days are fraught with evil, with hardships, with sickness and disaster! It seems very difficult at times for many of us to put reliance on any power beyond that which we can see or understand with our human faculties. But Christian Science, assuring us that our days can be "big with blessings," comes to us with spiritual enlightenment, even in the darkest hour. Christian Science shows us how spiritual enlightenment may come to us - by "leaning on the sustaining infinite." We know that when we lean physically, we lean our whole weight, as a rule, on the prop sustaining us; we do not try to reserve any power of our own. When we lean upon God, "the sustaining infinite," for help and deliverance, we make a higher effort, even a spiritual effort. We should lean wholeheartedly and put our whole trust, our whole reliance, on Him, without fear or reservation. Such reliance, such leaning, is true prayer, demonstrable prayer. True prayer not only includes the individual, but also all mankind and all creation in one affection.

 

Concept of God as Basic

From ancient days down to our own time, the most universal expression of hope and expectancy of deliverance from evil's discords have come to us in the form of prayer. Prayer thus reveals that mankind in general does believe in a power above and beyond self. To many this power has been a vague, far-off, unknown, unknowable, and human concept. This concept has been called by different names, conceived of in different forms and natures. The highest conception is acknowledged as God. Jesus defined God as Spirit and declared, "They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Worshipping "in spirit and in truth" is highest and most effectual prayer. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man," the Apostle James tells us "Availeth much" (James 5:16). The apostle understood not only the power of true prayer, but also the reason for unanswered prayer, for he wrote, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss" (James 4:3). To pray aright we must know God as He is - Spirit; and we must ask for what God has and knows - the things of Spirit. In Science and Health is the pertinent question (p. 2), "Are we benefited by praying?" And the answer immediately follows, "Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void."

Thus we see that a clear, spiritual understanding of God is the first, the very first, requisite for effectual prayer. This understanding of God comes to the world today through Christian Science. The entire teachings of Christian Science are based upon a knowledge of God, including the knowledge that all things are possible to Him. Christian Science teaches, as the Bible instructs, that there is only one God, one Supreme Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, omniactive Being; that He is All-in-all; infinite, eternal, and unchanging good. Christian Science insists on the allness of God and the nothingness of anything unlike Him. It reveals God, not afar off, but close at our side. "Closer is He than breathing," writes the poet Tennyson, "and nearer than hands and feet." Such a conception of God automatically does away with any sense of God as being corporeal. How impossible is it to imagine any form of corporeality as being omnipresence! Just so, it is impossible to conceive of corporeality as being infinite. No, God is not corporeal; God is Spirit, God knows no corporeal or material quality or attribute. God is Love, Life, Truth, Principle; and His own qualities He imparts to His beloved child, His image and likeness, man.

Because God is omnipotent, all power, it follows that all real power belongs to Him and to His manifestation; and that the government and law which emanate from God, Spirit, must be spiritual, good. Therefore, God cannot know or produce evil. Like produces like. Since God is omnipresent, it follows that there is no other presence. Since God is omniscient, there is no other wisdom. God is infinite Mind, the supreme intelligence. Because God is infinite, He is infinite good, infinite Love. "Infinite" is a rather difficult word for the human mind to comprehend. Infinite means without beginning or end; it means without limits of any kind. Infinite is a quality unknown to mortal thinking, where all is bounded by sense perception. The contemplation of our solar system helps us to gain, in a measure, some idea of infinity. How lost in wonderment we are when we try to realize the vastness of the space required for the movements of the planetary bodies in this system. We are told that in the Milky Way there are millions of suns, each believed to have its own system of planets, each keeping to an orderly course.  How truly beyond our grasp seems "infinite."

David, the king and poet, perhaps on the roof of his house on a starlit night, looking up to the heavens exclaimed: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him and the son of man that thou visitest him? . . . Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Ps. 8:3,4,6). Thinking of infinity we can understand what the seventeenth-century poet, Henry Vaughn, meant when he wrote:

 

"I saw Eternity the other night

Like a great ring of pure and endless light,

All calm as it was bright."

(From “The World”)

 

The eternal, unchanging operation of God's presence and power we see in the continuing, harmonious operation of the universe, inclusive of man.

To this all-knowing, all-powerful, infinite God, Christian Scientists turn in grateful prayer and on Him lean, confident and expectant of good. We affirm God's presence, His love, His constant care and protection, and pray that we may partake of His spirit and do His work. Christian Science enables us to change from the human concept of a personal variable God, whom we must plead with to be God, to a God of love, whom we can know, reverence, and trust as ever loving, ever available, ever mindful of His own.

 

Mrs. Eddy and Prayer

In the first chapter of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has given a very beautiful, comprehensive, and understandable spiritual treatise on prayer. It has been said that if Mrs. Eddy had left to the world no other writing than this chapter on Prayer, she would have brought a great blessing to mankind. Mrs. Eddy's entire life was a life of prayer, a continuous prayer to know more about the things of God. The truths that she has incorporated in Science and Health and in her other writings came to her through prayer and through deep spiritual understanding of the law of God, the divine Principle governing the universe. In an hour of great physical need, when an injury received in a fall on an icy pavement was expected by her physicians to prove fatal, the revelation of Christian Science came to Mrs. Eddy. She prayed and was instantly healed through a realization of God's omni-present healing power. She saw that this healing power was as available to her at that moment as it was to Jesus when he exercised it in healing the "man sick of the palsy," as related in the ninth chapter of Matthew. Mrs. Eddy had a revealing glimpse of the impersonal Christ, Truth, ever present, ever potent, ever active, ever available to heal and to bless all.

Because of Mrs. Eddy's unselfish desire to share her revelation with the world, she spent years of prayer, study, and research in formulating and in proving the vision of God's power that had come to her. The result was the textbook, Science and Health, which contains the complete statement of Christian Science, The Science of divine spiritual Mind-healing. The study of this book, in conjunction with the Bible, has healed and blessed millions of lives. Mrs. Eddy revealed how prayer can be utilized to free men from their enslaving beliefs of sickness, sin, and mortality, and lift them out of disease and death, and how they can gain the inspiration of an absolute faith in unchanging good.

 

The Church of Christ, Scientist

Through prayer, Mrs. Eddy founded her Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist. Through her prayer the Manual of The Mother Church came into being, the Bible and Science and Health she ordained to be the pastors of her Church. Through prayer she established the Christian Science periodicals - "organs of this Church" (Manual, p. 44) - and she founded THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR "to spread undivided the Science that operates unspent." The object of the Monitor," she states, "is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353). Prayer was the motivation of Mrs. Eddy’s lifework. The heart of every Christian Scientist glows with love and gratitude for her patient, untiring, and inspired life; and the heart of the world will glow with appreciative love as it gains an understanding of the magnitude of her revelation.

 

Man

Mrs. Eddy's very precious and practical teaching about God makes known to us also a precious and practical understanding of man as the divine reflection of God. This teaching is in line with the Scripture, the first chapter of Genesis.  There we read, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). What a truly wonderful pronouncement! Man is God's own image! Then, as we remember Jesus' words that "God is a Spirit," we conclude that man, God's image, must be spiritual. And as a spiritual idea he possesses the qualities of Spirit, not the belief of matter or of mortal mind, the carnal mind, which is enmity against Spirit, divine Mind, God.

In answer to the question, "What is man?" Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health (p 475): "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science."

Accepting this revolutionary statement as provable truth, we naturally can let go of our fear, our doubts, the unsatisfying teachings of material educational systems, and wholly rest on our God-given birthright of dominion. Truly, God made man to have dominion over the works of His hands and has put all things under his feet. Man's birthright does not include lack, weakness, fear, inability, poverty, ill-health, sin, age, death. How can we be sure that there is no lack, no poverty for man, the image and likeness of God? God knows no lack, no poverty; hence can His image and likeness, man, know lack, poverty? Did Christ Jesus, who multiplied the loaves and fishes for the multitudes with something to spare, have consciousness of lack, poverty? Can the real man know lack?

 

"While Christ is rich, can I be poor?

What can I want beside?"

(Christian Science Hymnal No. 224.)

 

Abundance has no relationship to lack or limitation. God, who is the source, the fountainhead, of all good, is constantly providing His beloved idea, man, with every needful thing. Let us turn to Him in prayer and hold ourselves ready to accept the outpouring of His love. If we "be willing and obedient, (we) shall eat the good of the land" (Isa. 1:19).

 

Protective Value of a Right Idea

The prophet Isaiah urges (26:4). "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." What a recipe for overcoming the mortal mind's claims of weakness: "Trust ye in the Lord for ever"! I should like to share with you a testimony that was given in The Mother Church one Wednesday evening during war days. A young naval officer glowingly testified how a few words given him by a consecrated Christian Scientist had protected him and his ship during grave danger. The words were, "You can only believe in weakness; you can never know it." The ship, with very weak defense and escort, was going through a danger zone. The words given the officer by the Christian Scientist, "You can only believe in weakness: you can never know it," forcefully returned to his thought. He repeated them over and over, and he repeated them to his captain; and the captain, although not a Christian Scientist repeated them over and over. Also the two men began to read together the Christian Science Lesson-Sermon from the Bible and Science and Health as given in the Christian Science Quarterly. The result was protection. And five different healings of men of the personnel of that ship resulted. Today we can treasure these pregnant words and apply them broadly in any problem. You can only believe in sin, sickness, sorrow, fear, inability; you can never know them. "In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength," everlasting love, ability, and protection. You can know only the truth. Can you ever know that seven and three is nine? You may believe it - therefore have to pay the penalty for believing it - but you can never know it. How watchful we must be to discriminate faithfully between belief, that deals with human suppositions, and spiritual knowledge or understanding!

 

Jesus and the Christ

The most outstanding example that the world has ever known of true manhood was Christ Jesus. In him was exemplified the divinity of the Christ and the humanity of Jesus. Christ and Jesus are not synonymous terms. Mrs. Eddy defines Jesus as idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing to light man's immortality" (Science and Health, p. 589). And Christ she defines as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (ibid. p. 583). Jesus, the man, the highest human corporeal concept, bringing to human view the divine manifestation of God - the Christ!

Through Jesus' spiritual understanding he overcame every earthly trial. His mission was threefold: teaching, healing, and preaching. Today his word is as alive as it was when he preached and healed and taught his disciples on the Galilean shores. So potent and so timeless are the spiritual truths which Jesus practiced and demonstrated that today they heal and regenerate, they bless and comfort, they inspire and uplift when we turn to them in prayerful understanding. Christian Science, the Comforter, which Jesus promised would surely come, draws its inspiration and authority from the life and teachings of our great Master, Christ Jesus. Mrs. Eddy assures us: "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation: Now, as then, these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural" (Science and Health, Pref., p. xi). In proof of this statement I should like to tell you of a healing that a friend of mine experienced.

 

Healing: Through Spiritual Understanding:

This friend, a busy, successful practitioner became aware of an abnormal swelling throughout her whole body. The condition made it impossible for her to wear any of her clothes. The difficulty was not diagnosed nor given a name but the outward symptoms were far from pleasant. My friend and her practitioner turned wholeheartedly to God in prayer. They were confident that because God, good, is omnipresent, nothing unlike good could be present or even known to man, God's reflection; they were confident that the evidence before the senses was like the mirage, unreal, therefore untrue. Patient and practitioner each followed, to the best of her ability, Mrs. Eddy's instruction to "observe mind instead of body, lest aught unfit for development enter thought" (Science and Health, p. 419). Each faithfully prayed that whatever needed to be known, in order that the erroneous condition might be healed, would be revealed to them.

The statement from Science and Health (p. 462), "The anatomy of Christian Science teaches when and how to probe the self-inflicted wounds of selfishness, malice, envy, and hate," claimed the patient's attention over and over. But she was sure there was no envy, malice, or hate in her thinking; that there was no resistance in her thought to spiritual truth. And again she prayed that if there was a message for her in this passage she might understand it. Suddenly she realized that while these erroneous thoughts were no part of her own thinking, she had been believing that they could be expressed by others and could be directed towards her. This was her answer to the prayer. As the belief was corrected that error had any place anywhere, had any mentality to work through or with, the diseased condition began to lift, and in a few days there was a normal expression of health. Such a healing shows the power of faith and prayer. Science and Health declares (p. 134), "There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance."

 

Jesus Healed Through Prayer

How consistently and constantly Jesus turned to God in prayer in moments of stress, and for the healing inspiration that such prayer brought to him. We read that Jesus frequently went up into a mountain apart to pray. Such times of refreshment, or renewal of the spiritual understanding of his divine sonship with God enabled him compassionately and successfully to meet the errors that surged about him, and enabled him to perform many wonderful works. Mrs. Eddy, in speaking of Jesus' prayers, says that his "humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 12).

 

The Lord's Prayer

One of the outstanding contributions that Jesus gave to the world is the prayer which we today call "the Lord's Prayer." This prayer is part of his great Sermon on the Mount.   Jesus was teaching His disciples and the multitude how to pray, at the particular moment of giving "the Lord's Prayer." He warned against long, wordy prayers made for a pretense, or to impress the people, and urged, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (Matt. 6:6). Jesus' assurance that "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him" (Matt. 6:8), is a comfort to all who give heed to these words. Jesus said (Matt. 6:9-13): "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever."

 

Spiritual Interpretation of the Lord's Prayer

This prayer, Mrs. Eddy tells us, covers every human need. (Science and Health, p. 16:10). The deep love, appreciation, understanding, and reverence which Mrs. Eddy had for the Lord's Prayer enabled her to give us in Science and Health (pp. 16,17) a spiritual sense of this prayer which raises our limited understanding to higher and more spiritual concepts of Truth. Her spiritual interpretation of the prayer is by no means a substitute for the prayer. Its purpose and effect is to help men lift their thought to greater appreciation of the spiritual beauty and grandeur of the prayer itself and its demonstrable power in our lives. Mrs. Eddy's spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer we shall now consider.

How wonderfully Jesus opens his prayer with the words, "Our Father" - "Our Father which art in heaven." Not MY Father, but OUR Father. The words emphasize the   intimate loving relationship between Father and Son, and among all men. Father is the name for God which Jesus used so frequently and so lovingly and with which he sounded the universal note of fatherhood. Mrs. Eddy's spiritual sense of this reading, "OUR FATHER-MOTHER GOD, ALL-HARMONIOUS," brings to human thought an enlarged sense of the all-inclusiveness of God. In the two words, "our Father," lies an infinitude of meaning.  These words are truly universal; they include high and low, rich and poor, youth and age; the statesman, the man in the street, the poet, the musician, the philosopher, the rustic - all men, all nations. It we could realize, and if the world could realize, that God is Father and Mother of the universe, and consequently all men are brethren, we should now be one harmonious family living in peace and good will. Father-Mother is the name of divine Love.

The thought of "OUR FATHER-MOTHER GOD, ALL-HARMONIOUS," goes back to the first chapter of Genesis. Do we not read, "And God said, Let us make man in our image; after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . over all the earth" (Gen. 1:26)? This record, the Elohistic record of creation, represents God in the plural. "Us," "Our," refer to the manifold qualities, attributes, and power of God. He is the divinely royal "We." So God - Father-Mother - made man, male and female, in His own image and likeness, good, harmonious, complete, and perfect. How happily does Mrs. Eddy use the word "all-harmonious"! For thereby our understanding of heaven is broadened. Immediately we see that heaven is not a locality, but a conscious state of being. Jesus taught, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). Obviously a locality, a place, could not be within. But a harmonious state of being, true consciousness, true heaven, can be within us.

"Hallowed be Thy name." "ADORABLE ONE." To be holy, to reverence, is to hallow; and to be worthy of fervent devotion is to be adorable.  Surely God's name, God's nature, is holy, blessed, and worthy to be adored. What is His name? His name is Love, Truth, Life, Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul. (See Science and Health, p. 465:10) Every time we overcome evil with good; every time we see through the illusion of sickness and sin, thus claiming our son-ship with our harmonious Father-Mother-God; every time, we through love, blot out the illusion of hatred, we are hallowing, adoring His name. May we ever hallow and adore in our thought, in our words, and in our deeds the infinite, all-loving, ever-present, and eternal God.

"Thy kingdom come." How often we think of and use these words petitionally, as though man were separated from, outside of, God's kingdom! But Mrs. Eddy inspirationally lifts thought above petition into affirmation when she writes, "THY KINGDOM IS COME; THOU ART EVER-PRESENT."  To know that God's kingdom is come, that it already is, that He is ever present, and ever to remember what the nature of God's kingdom is, is the first essential for spiritual living and healing. God's kingdom is the realm of true, spiritual joy.

The kingdom of God being within us as true consciousness, we can rise to glorious attainments. The understanding of God's ever-presence shuts out fear, doubt, sin, sickness, sorrow, lack. Through prayer without ceasing, through the giving of thanks and praise to God, always rejoicing, we establish and maintain God's kingdom - harmony, peace, righteousness, joy - within us.

When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," we are praying that God shall be the Supreme Ruler in our lives; we are praying that His law shall be the only law by which we abide, and that we may ever act in accordance with His divine government and law. Science and Health points, out (p. 428) "To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, - this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true." "THY KINGDOM IS COME! THOU ART EVER-PRESENT."

"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." "ENABLE US TO KNOW, - AS IN HEAVEN, SO ON EARTH, GOD IS OMNIPOTENT, SUPREME." In this passage again, as in the preceding ones, Mrs. Eddy gives the spiritual sense of the petition. The spiritual sense is always affirmative. With deep spiritual discernment she stresses the universality of the Lord's Prayer.

God's will is that we should know His omnipotence, His supremacy - His allness. His will for us is illimitable good. As we recognize this truth, the temptation to believe in another will, another power, fades out. Our need, our privilege, our joy, is to know and do His will and to establish it on earth. But how difficult mortals often seem to find the knowing and the doing of the divine will! Why? Not because they want to go contrary to His will, but because they do not distinguish clearly between the human and the divine, the real and the unreal. Because of the duality of their thinking, mortals run into difficulties. As the Bible tells us, "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). To the degree that we know that here and now God is omnipotent, supreme, we are ready and able to do His will. Not in a moment do we, humanly speaking, draw nigh to God, and without reservations do His will; but by persistent understanding, affirmation, and demonstration of spiritual truth, we come into agreement with His will; and it thus becomes our will. Every step in the right direction is helping to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth, is helping us to glimpse "a new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1). Love is our Father's will for all on earth as it is in heaven.

"Give us this day our daily bread." What is our daily bread, our essential daily need? Could it be possibly that Jesus was teaching his disciples the necessity of praying for material food? Certainly not, for he had already said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). What our daily bread really is, Mrs. Eddy reveals in her spiritual interpretation of the words, "Give us this day our daily bread." She thus interprets it: "GIVE US GRACE FOR TO-DAY; FEED THE FAMISHED AFFECTIONS."  How helpfully she lifts "daily bread" into the spiritual sense of sustenance. Our daily bread is daily grace, where with the famished affections are fed. Grace, a Christian virtue, includes faith, hope, mercy, compassion, tenderness, sympathy, strength, gratitude, and many other spiritual qualities. In a word, grace for today is daily, divine, universal love in action. What food for our famished affections!

In later verses of the Sermon on the Mount we are told not to lay up treasures for ourselves on earth, but to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven.  Material possessions must never be regarded as an end in themselves. Truly our daily bread is not material; it is not in treasures on earth, but in treasures in heaven on earth. Our daily bread is "GRACE FOR TO-DAY." Always more and more grace! We inherit all grace from God, even as did Christ Jesus.  For this bread, this grace, we earnestly pray, "Lord, evermore give us this bread" (John 6:31).

 

"They who seek the throne of grace,

Find that throne in every place:

If we live a life of prayer,

God is present everywhere."

(Christian Science Hymnal, No, 341)

 

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." How closely allied is this prayer with another of Jesus' teachings, known the world around as the Golden Rule: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets" (Matt. 7:12). Proportionately as we are forgiving we can expect forgiveness; in the degree that we are loving shall we receive love. Mrs. Eddy in her spiritual interpretation, "AND LOVE IS REFLECTED IN LOVE," lifts thought above mere human forgiveness and human loving. God, Love, can express Himself only in love, in good. As we are conscious of the God-given qualities of Love - kindness, patience, consideration, gentleness, justice, helpfulness, mercy - they become part of our expression. As we see our fellowman freed from any and all of the unlovely and unloving characteristics of mortal mind, then truly we are reflecting Love in love. The Apostle Paul urges, "Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another  hath fulfilled the law" (Rom. 13:8). He that loveth not hath not fulfilled the law.

"LOVE IS REFLECTED IN LOVE." Love therefore is the prayer that will break the vicious circle of hate breeding hate. Edwin Markham writes:

 

"He drew a circle that shut me out –

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But Love and I had the wit to win;

We drew a circle that took him in."

 

Love is ever opening wide its arms and its heart to receive the forgiven one. Divine Love knows only love; it knows nothing to forgive.

In one of the legends about Leonardo da Vinci, he is said to have painted his enemy's face on the shoulders of Judas. The story goes on to say that he could not then envision and paint the face of the Christ. But when he forgave his enemy and painted out the face of Judas, he saw in a dream the face of Christ Jesus. Such is the legend. May we so forgive our enemies! Help us, O Love, to bless those that curse us, do good to those that hate us, and pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. May we love our enemies, and so discover that we have no enemies! "LOVE IS REFLECTED IN LOVE." Our Father forgives us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." With words of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, Mrs. Eddy gives the affirmative spiritual sense: "AND GOD LEADETH US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVERETH US FROM SIN, DISEASE, AND DEATH." Jesus' prayer means that we be led of God and through His leading be freed from every phase of evil belief. Where God, good, is, no evil can be; and God's love destroys all belief in evil or sin and so nullities all fear.

The great temptation that the whole world has to meet and to master is believing in a power apart from God; belief that man can be sick, sinful, mortal; belief that man can be self-creative. Such evil beliefs are nought but the mesmeric trickery of the one evil, the one devil, the devil which Jesus in the wilderness temptation summarily dismissed with the authoritative words, "Get thee behind me Satan" (Luke 4:8). How truly Jesus proved in his wilderness experience that to be tempted of evil is not sin, but to yield to temptation is sin. The prayer that asks for deliverance from such yielding has not been outmoded. God's power alone can save us, deliver us, as Christ Jesus taught. And Mrs. Eddy's assurance that God does lead and deliver brings comfort to our hearts.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever." "FOR GOD IS INFINITE, ALL-POWER, ALL LIFE, TRUTH, LOVE, OVER ALL, AND ALL." What a glorious Te Deum of triumphant praise! As in the Lord's Prayer, so in its spiritual interpretation by Mrs. Eddy, we begin and end with praise, honor, and thanksgiving to God. True adoration! What assurance and comfort are in these last sentences of the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation! A glorious acknowledgment of the infinitude, power, and allness of God! To acknowledge and to praise God as "INFINITE ALL - POWER, ALL LIFE, TRUTH, LOVE, OVER ALL, AND ALL" is to acknowledge and to praise His supremacy, His potency, His universality. Such glorification blesses all, and blesses the one who blesses all.

Enshrined in our hearts eternally is our Lord's Prayer. Never does it fail us. We can invoke its blessed healing power in every time of need - in sickness, sorrow, sin, lack, accident, war, yes, even in the face of death. Moreover, we can invoke its blessed power in times of peace and plenty. May we trust it, daily, hourly, ceaselessly, thankfully, joyfully. And the test of our trust and gratitude will be shown by our application and demonstration of its glorious truths. Mankind must rise to the full understanding of the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer. Mrs. Eddy has written, "Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick" (Science and Health, p. 16). Dear Father, help us to rise spiritually; help us to seek Thee, not with the thought of personal gain, but with impressionable love, so that we may bless others and thus fulfill Thy precious will and purpose for us. "For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever."  "FOR GOD IS INFINITE, ALL-POWER, ALL LIFE, TRUTH, LOVE, OVER ALL, AND ALL."

Truly, Christian Science is a religion of demonstrable prayer, reforming the sinner, healing the sick, and proving that all things are possible to God. God's goodness is without limitation; it is for each one individually and for all the world collectively. Oh, let us "praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness" (Ps. 107:8,9).

 

[Published in The Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) News, June 2, 1955.]

 

 

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